Noel Murray's ongoing A Very Special Episode series at The AV Club started strong and has been consistently excellent, even revelatory, but this week's installment, exploring the unique appeal of Mystery Science Theater 3000, is particularly perceptive.
I don't really have a whole lot to add here, except to point out that MST3K pretty much altered my DNA, changing not only my perception of movies as I watch them, but of my life as I live it. It has always served as a reminder that we don't have to take anything as we find it, that we should always question what we see.
Here's a clip that shows what I mean. In this episode, Joel, Crow and Tom Servo were forced to watch the movie The Painted Hills, an odd, moralistic melodrama that featured beloved dog Lassie as a blunt instrument of revenge. Crow and Servo were having none of it, and questioned the very morality of the movie itself. Sure, it's all intended comedically, but the fine, precise tone of the script ("I accidently bump my Rottweiler with a screen door, I wake up the next morning with a severed cat head in my bed?") shows that the writers were genuinely upset about the mixed messages the film presented. Plus, it's just damned funny, and perfectly played.